Nostalgia can Kill your Business- May you live in interesting times – Part 2

Welcome back to another look at how Bali has transformed. Last week we looked at how the economy was changing. Today I want to focus on government—and what we can learn from their improved efficiency.


Government services have changed a lot. I can trot along to my local village office to pay my phone, water and power bills. Better yet, they are directly invoiced off the internet! There are more tax collectors out on the streets checking on store owners. Last week I watched a young guy (I must admit: nearly every one is a young guy to me these days) stick a 2D barcode on my client’s electricity meter. He then used a portable barcode reader to identify the meter and subsequently entered the reading.


Tax collectors will intensify their hunt for sales, company and personal income tax. As business owners, we must match this steadily-increasing efficiency of our government. Why? Because it affects our bottom line. For instance, one of my clients had the tax collectors not check the accounts for sales figures. He simply had them check for staff service payments and then multiplied that by 2 as a sales tax declaration (the last two years will do, thanks). Does your business have that kind of cash flow? Enough to immediately pay 20 percent of your current annual sales in past tax?


There will soon be more compliance checks for minimum wage, staff insurance and leave adherence. The days of being complacent about inadequate business documentation are over. Today, the clamping down of people working without visas is intensifying. My point is this: as government becomes more professional, so too must we.


So these are just some of the major changes that will have an impact on you and your business—if they haven’t already. Bali now has a more affluent customer base, and an increased need for compliancy. What else is looming to force me out of my comfort zone?


The first big one is the changing tourist mix. Have you noticed the Indonesian/Mandarin dictionaries already available in bookstores and supermarkets here? Before, Japanese, European and American tourists made up a significant part of our Bali customer base—whether locally or through export. Now, amazing changes are happening in the Asian middleclass.


– In the next 6-8 years, we can expect to see 250 million middleclass Chinese tourists who are eager to travel.
– In the next 10-15 years, we can expect to see about 3.5 billion middleclass Asians in general.
The Chinese travellers I know are sophisticated, affluent and direct. They know what they want and are prepared to say what they think.


If you think Western social media reviews have had an impact on your business, then consider how much more direct the Chinese are. Will you be in a position to know when they talk about your business? Will Google be able to translate these for us in real time data so that we can respond quickly enough?


If your vision is correctly positioned, then change should not affect it. Your vision is your rock. However, the capabilities derived from your resources and processes need to be able to adapt rapidly. If they can, you will be in a position to take advantage of an ever-changing business climate.


So ask yourself: Is your own business positioned for the nostalgia of today, or the opportunities of tomorrow?


As always, thanks for reading

Graeme Stevens
CEO and Co-Founder
neXtep easy

neXtep Business Builder Community Pte Ltd
Singapore ACRA Business Registration Number: 201424522Z
80 Kitchener Road #09-09/10 Singapore 208539


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